Saturday, May 8, 2010

8th May, 2010 Please support this petition

To prevent this sort of thing at sales, please sign the petition for Equine Market Watch.
The Welfare of Horses at markets (and Other Places of Sale) Order 1990
The 1990 Order was put in place to protect the welfare of equines in markets and other places of sale and in it’s time it was better than the bland and non direction legislation it replaced but that was then and this is now.
This charity, Equine Market Watch Sanctuaries UK, using our team of volunteers across the UK, monitor the welfare of most auctions and markets, horse fairs and anywhere else horses (and other animals) may be offered for sale. This work has been carried out for more than 15 years, and prior to that, by individual members of our trustees and volunteers, all of whom had deep concerns for the welfare of animals in sale environments.Over the last 10 years nothing has changed to increase welfare awareness and provision at markets and sales, even with the arrival of the 2006 Welfare Act horses tend to fall through the middle of most welfare legislation given they are not classed as livestock nor are they given companion animal status.Week on week this charity sees horses and ponies that are put through auctions even when they are clearly unwell or with open wounds or lame or aged or foals that are clearly well under the age of 6 months old sold away from their Dam.

Nothing in the 1990 Order addresses these issues in depth but the National Equine Welfare Council Code of Practice offers excellent advisories that would, if adopted as a legal requirement, put an end to much of the above mentioned suffering and abuses.EMW-UK is calling for an immediate revision of the 1990 Order to include amendments and penalties of on the spot fines and follow up investigation into home conditions of animals in poor condition and/or clear signs of neglect put forward by vendors Visual signs of neglect should be graded and clearly listed to make new amendments and legislation crystal clear to both vendors and market staff and a tool for welfare organisation representatives attending. There should be a minimum and also maximum age requirement for horses on sale and no admittance to the venue of any equine showing clear signs of illness (nasal discharge/ facial/glandular swellings etc.) Simply having 'isolation' pens within market venues do not work as there is no sure way of containing disease in market environments.The muddy areas of liability of care when in auction also need to be further addressed with auction houses taking a responsibility for ensuring adequate water/fodder is given to all equines while in markets etc and provided by ALL vendors, Some of the older market premises were never intended for the sale of equines and therefore are frankly dangerous with floors that are slippery to equine hooves, alleyways that are narrow and with poor loading facilities.

This charity has much evidence of feral and semi-feral horses being herded from lorries and through sale rings, often having to cross a moving weighbridge, where the floor area can be very slippery and equines fall onto hard floors in their panic to get away. This charity regularly sees the buyers crowding around and in some cases actually in the ring and blocking exits, causing huge distress to these inherently wild animals. Too many auctioneers seem to ignore or are oblivious to the current legislation There are few sale rings that are of an adequate size to allow horses to be ridden while being sold, the noise of the auction and the intense crowd all cause distress event to the mildest of mannered equine.
Allowing small children without a hard hat and/or other protective items, to ride, perform stunts such as standing on the back of a horse, or crawling underneath a horse while it is being sold may be of some proof of the good nature of the animal but is, in reality, a serious accident waiting to happen.
Updating of the 1990 Order should include stricter loading and unloading procedures and especially where entire horses of over the age of 1 year are travelled loose with mares and castrated animals. Despite being physically immature most colts over the age of 12 months are dominant and apt to become aggressive when mares are present, in the confinement of a lorry, or market pen, fights are common. Horses/ponies get kicked and bitten by the most dominant equine present unable to get away.This charity has witnessed many incidents where mares with small foals at foot are penned with older colts and also where fully entire and mature males are penned, although separately, alongside pens containing mares or other males. This leads to aggression and can result in dominant horses trying to attack other horses through market pen bars. This charity calls for mature entire males to be penned away from ALL other horses with at least one empty pen distance on all sides separating them from other equines in market. Incidents with tethered horses are frequent and dangerous. It is common practice at some auctions, where pen space is at a premium, to tie up horses on the railings along side penned equines. Not only is this dangerous with regard to aggression between those in the pens and those tethered it is also a welfare hazard to the tied horse.It is common for many to be tied in a rope head collar that can become strangulation tight if not knotted to prevent tightening. EMW-UK call for this kind of head collar is banned from all places of sale. EMW-UK call for much tighter crowd control legislation where auctioneers are duty bound to keep entrances and exits clear at ALL times, to have solid faced gating on entrances and exits to sale rings and to have access entry with sufficient head clearance for all horses sold. Anti slip matting should be standard in ALL auction rings.This charity is calling for a complete overhaul of the 1990 Statutory Order No. 2627 and for the N.E.W.C. Code of Practice to be adopted as law.